Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's important to like the people with whom you work.

I've learned that it's important to me to work with people that I like to be around. When considering a job change, or when considering a new hire, it's important to me to find a good cultural fit.

That doesn't mean that I want to hire only people who are similar to me. It's actually quite the opposite. I know what my skill set is, and I know that it's not complete. I try to surround myself with smart people who have the skills that I lack. I also believe it's important to be around people whose life experiences are different than mine. I enjoy that environment because we each bring a different point of view. And, together we can develop solutions which are better than any which we would have developed individually. It also makes for enlightening conversations.

I've learned that the same applies to my social life. I embrace being with people who have been married for a long time. And I especially appreciate people who speak well of their spouse. A wise man once taught me that when I vowed to "honor my wife" a couple of decades ago, I promised that I will always treat her with dignity and respect, in public, in private, in her presence and in her absence. So I will never refer to her as "My Old Lady" or complain of her imperfections. I am committed to be and grateful to be her husband, so I refer to her as "My Bride", and I speak of her virtues.

I believe that the common thread in my professional and personal relationships is a shared set of values. It is important to me to be with people who are different than me, sometimes smarter than me, and willing to share their wisdom, experiences, and values.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

reCareered: Build a Linkedin Profile That You Can Be Proud Of! - Page 2

reCareered: Build a Linkedin Profile That You Can Be Proud Of! - Page 2

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I've learned that motivating a group over a long period of time takes a variety of actions.

In the workplace, some people will be motivated by internal competition while others pledge that "we're all in this together" and the only competition is outside of our company. Sellers tend to fall into the prior group while shipping and receiving personnel tend to fall into that latter.

Similarly, some people prefer group recognition, while others prefer individual recognition. Some prefer a very valuable prize (gift card or vacation) for a single recipient, while others prefer a nominal prize for all (pizza party). Some people appreciate a logo'd apparel item while others don't want to be a walking advertisement for the company.

The solution is to try a variety of actions over a period of time. That increases the chances of motivating everyone. It also prevents recognition activities from fading into entitlements.

By the way, a simple and sincere "Thank you" is still appreciated by everyone.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Your Company's Culture is Built Upon Its Lore

I've learned that a company's culture is based upon its lore. It's lore is the retelling of the times when the rules were bent to do the right thing.

Here's an example. I once inherited a small group of associates, one of whom was a "temp" who had been there for several years. Temporary personel don't receive health benefits, they don't get paid for holidays and they aren't accumulating a pension. Therefore, both parties should expect it to be a short term assignment. If the assignment lasts for years, then a situation is created where a group of people, "the temps", are compensated less equitably than their peers.

Soon after taking the assignment, I told my "temp" that I expected to gain some efficiencies by making several process improvements, and that within 3-6 months I would no longer need her services. When the time came to let her go, I did something unheard of. I gave her two weeks of severence pay. Not only that, I let the other associates know that I was trying to do the right thing by compensating a multi-year associate with a reasonable severance package.

By bending the rules in that manner, I created a story that was told for many years. I had added to the company's lore, which fed the culture that this is a company that cares about their people.

The moral of the story is that a company's culture is based upon the lore that is created when the rules are bent or broken. If a company's culture is to change, it must break some established rules.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Okay, What Shall We Do Next?

I've learned from Nido Qubein that ”Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

I believe that is true in all aspects of my life. As I try to live in the moment, I try not to languish in the moment. I'm aware of all of the good in my life, and I'm planning for what's next. It's not a matter of wanting more. It's knowing what I want, then pursuing it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Optimism, Perseverance and Pursuing One's Dreams

I've learned that Teddy Roosevelt had a way with words when speaking of optimism, perseverance and pursuing one's dreams.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

That's a quote that I need to memorize!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unrecognized Risk of Cell Phone Usage

I've learned research is showing that using a cell phone while driving is a greater distraction than drivers perceive. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of vehicular crashes, or 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year.

“Our nation has reached a point where we estimate more than 100 million people are engaging in this dangerous behavior daily,” NSC President and CEO Janet Froetscher said, adding that the issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the distraction caused by the conversation. “Hands-free devices do not make cell phones any safer. Several studies indicate that the principle risk is the cognitive distraction. Studies also show that driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four-times greater crash risk.”